Assemblymember O'Donnell rallied with striking Verizon workers on the Upper West Side. O'Donnell joined the workers picketing in front of a Verizon storefront located in his Assembly District on 109th Street and Broadway.
Verizon workers in the North East went on strike Wednesday, April 13 after a contract negotiating deadline passed. Workers have been trying to reach a contract agreement for 10 months.
In addition to a fair contract, workers are rallying against Verizon's various cutbacks, including offshoring and contracting out work, cutting job security and benefits, closing call centers, and forcing technicians to work away from home for as long as two months.
Assembly Member O'Donnell rallied with the Verizon workers and praised their efforts:
“Verizon's treatment of its workers is irresponsible and inexcusable. No company, especially one with such large profits, should cut employee benefits and reduce their quality of life as a tactic to make more money. Their behavior is not only a detriment to the workers and their families, but also to our community. Today, I stand with Verizon workers in asking for a fair contract from the corporation that they have worked hard to make successful. I commend the Communications Workers of America and all Verizon workers for not being afraid to take a stand for fair treatment.”
Lisa Murray, a member of CWA Local 1101, and a field technician covering the Upper West Side added from the picket line:
“We are fighting over working conditions. We are fighting against the huge medical costs for retirees which are especially hard for seniors. Verizon made 1.8 billion in profits each month first the first 3 months of this year, with the top executive making over $18 million a year. Why does he deserve a decent life and we don't? We're fighting to keep call center jobs here and medical benefits for retirees. We've offered millions of dollars in health care cost savings and they refuse to move on our major points. I'm a mother of two and they could transfer me for two months up to 300 miles away. I can't do that with a family. The transfer of wealth to the top needs to stop, that's why we're striking. Thank you to Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell for joining us today and for your support”
Assemblymember O'Donnell also called on Verizon to properly address service problems in communities throughout New York State:
“Verizon has failed to meet buildout obligations for FiOS in New York City. I do not doubt this is largely due to the cutting of nearly 40% of staff over the last ten years. This has alienated many communities from having access to quality broadband service and puts them at a severe disadvantage at a time where internet access is so critical to daily life.”
The New York State's Public Service Commission has convened a formal hearing to investigate service quality problems across the Empire State. In the last few weeks, regulators in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have launched similar inquiries into Verizon's operations.